Elizabeth Merriman (Dee) Barrett, 89, passed away on March 27, 2021 in Orange Park, Florida. She was born in Woburn, Massachusetts and retired from the US Navy.
Commander Barrett received her commission as ensign in the US Navy six months after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She was trained at the Women Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island. She later earned her master's in meteorology and served a three year tour in hurricane forecasting at the Naval Weather Facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Dee was eventually sent to Vietnam. There, she was the first woman naval line officer to hold a command in a combat zone, serving as Commanding Officer of the Naval Advisory Group's 450 enlisted men at Saigon from November 1972 to March 1973.
Dee is quoted in an earlier issue of Stars and Strips as follows: "Some critics of women's liberation say if women want equal rights, then they should be subject to a draft. I say yes, that's fine. Others say women are too frail to do a man's job. I agree that some women may be too frail, but are you going to deny the woman who isn't too frail?"
Her last duty station was at NAS Cecil Field in Jacksonville where she had multiple administrative responsibilities. She retired without ceremony after 21 years of service.
Following retirement she became the first female umpire for Jacksonville recreation's Little League and softball games.
Dee was a member of the Community of Christ Green Cove Springs Congregation where she served as music director.
In addition, she served for many years as a volunteer tax preparer at her local library and as a volunteer election official for the local precinct.
Dee was a silent benefactor for many persons in need over the years.
She is survived by her brother, Ted (Ingrid) of Hanover, NH; sister, Kay Kyser of Orange Park, FL; daughter, Tamara Kitchens (David) of Jacksonville, FL; Goddaughter, Joyce Cornelia (Scott) of Greenbrook, NJ and a host of dear treasured friends.
Memorial Services will be planned at a later date. Internment will occur next year at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors.
Arrangements by HARDAGE-GIDDENS RIVERMEAD FUNERAL HOME, 127 Blanding Blvd, Orange Park, FL. Please post words of comfort at www.hardage-giddensrivermead.com
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